London-based blogger Mimi Ikonn and her husband, Alex, are known for sharing many aspects of their life — from family and friends to their secrets to happy living — on their Instagram and YouTube channels. The couple behind The Five Minute Journal are transparent about their journey to health and happiness as they post about their daily routines, as well as their occasional struggles. And in a recent post of Ikonn’s, the hair guru was able to share a difficult journey that many mothers are finding they can relate to.
“If someone told me I’d still be breastfeeding you at 15 months — I’d think they are joking, considering how rocky it all started for us,” she began. “It was insanely hard — probably one of the hardest things I had to do after giving birth of course. And yet we are still on this journey.”
The post revisits Ikonn’s many difficult — and relatable — moments with breastfeeding. But she also calls the process “a magical wand” for healing her baby girl.
“It seems breastfeeding is like a magical pain reliever that soothes you when you are in pain or overwhelmingly upset,” Ikonn wrote. “So for now we keep going as I know on one day it will inevitably come to an end and be a beautiful memory.”
Within the nearly 500 responses to the post, mothers from around the world shared their similar experiences — whether they related to the pain that Ikonn faced when starting to breastfeed or to her dedication to continue breastfeeding her daughter until she no longer can. Some shared in their comments that they’ve continued to breastfeed their 4-year-old children, while others say that just four months felt long enough. But the post also opened up a conversation about when a child is “too old” to be breastfed and when a mother knows she should stop.
“How do you know when you need to stop breastfeeding?” one person questioned in response to the post. Others offered critical comments, such as “You should stop breastfeeding when the baby is one year old” and another that simply said, “ew.” But international board certified lactation consultant Leigh Anne O’Connor explained to Yahoo Lifestyle why those who seemingly have a problem with the post should not.
“The biologically normal age for weaning is between 4 and 7 years of age. Culturally, we cut babies off prematurely, so it seems ‘weird’ to see a toddler nursing,” O’Connor explains. “We sexualize the breast and use breasts to sell cars and beer, but when they are used for their biblical purpose people get uncomfortable.”
O’Connor, who is a La Leche League leader and leads monthly meetings for moms of toddlers, goes on to say that short maternity leaves are another reason why mothers can’t keep up with nursing after just about a year. However, a child’s immune system is still developing through preschool, which is why a mother’s milk can help.
“Ikonn is right in that nursing soothes a boo-boo and hydrates a sick kiddo,” O’Connor says. “It also provides some of the sweetest and funniest moments a family will experience.”
So you can see the sweet reason why Ikonn is embracing these moments with her firstborn while she can.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- How can mothers who welcome babies via surrogate breastfeed?
- All the times Pope Francis has been a breastfeeding cheerleader
- There is now a nursing mothers’ room in the Maine State House — thanks to women in leadership